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Sexting 101 Part 1: Benefits, Risks, Consent & Trust
We’re on our phones all the time so it makes sense that sexting has become more commonplace. There is nothing wrong with sexting, it is a way to express yourself and your sexuality. That being said there are risks associated with sexting so if you’re thinking about it, be informed before you press send!
What is it?
Although we may think about sexting as strictly sexy photos there is a wide range of things that could be considered sexting. Here is what’s included under the definition of sexting:
- A message or post with sexy themes, words or messages
- Photos of you naked, half naked or parts of your body that are usually not exposed in public
- Photos or videos of sexual activities
- Live chats with someone on a webcam and engaging in sexual acts
- Screen captured photos/videos recorded from webcam
Not everybody sexts but some people do it because:
- It feels less intimidating than doing sexual things in person
- It can be a way to explore your sexuality
- It can be a way to connect with someone you’re interested in
- It a way to explore trust, boundaries and intimacy
- It can be fun and exciting
As with any type of sexual activity it’s not risk free. Here are some possible risks to be mindful of:
- It’s permanent: Copies can be made.
- Blackmail: Once you send a photo it can be used to blackmail you and force you to continue sending photos.
- Emotional Health: Knowing that your photo is out there can negatively impact your mental health.
- Physical Safety: You might get bullied or harassed if the photo gets shared.
- Social Consequences: You might get in trouble at your school or job. Your parents or guardian’s might be upset.
Reflect on Your Relationship
You might feel like Sexting is lower risk than physical sexual activity but this is not necessarily the case. Sexting is never 100% private no matter how careful you are and how much you trust your partner. Here are somethings to consider before you send that sext!
- Do I feel pressured to do this?
- Do I want to do this?
- Am I able to give consent?
Consent means that you are giving permission for something to happen. Consent should be:
Freely Given: You aren’t under pressure, blackmailed or physically/emotionally forced to do something.
Reversible: Just because you’ve sent a sext in the past doesn’t mean you have to do it again.
Informed: You are aware of what’s going to happen and who it will be shared with.
Enthusiastic: You’re into it. It’s not true consent if someone is hesitant about the activity but pressured into it anyway.
Specific: You give an exact plan and you don’t stray from it.
FRIES: If all of these aren’t in place, you are unable to give proper consent.
Does the recipient know you’ll be sending them a spicy message?
Consent is a two-way street. You should get consent of the person you’re sending a picture/video to, a surprise d*** pick is never good. Just because you’ve been sexual with someone in the past doesn’t mean they want your sexts.
- Do I know this person well?
The less you know someone the bigger the risk.
- Do I trust this person?
Do you trust them to keep your sext private?
- Do they care about your wellbeing?
- How responsible are they?
- Are they responsible with their devices?
- Do they lose their phone all the time?
- Do they log out of their accounts in shared devices?
- Do they take their cybersecurity seriously?
- Do they have passwords on their phone?
- Do other people know their login information?
Stay tuned for the next post in this series.
Kathryn is a recent MSW graduate currently trying to #adult. She is a former mindyourmind staff and continues to work in the youth & community development sectors. In her spare time, she is a proud plant parent, home chef and avid volunteer.
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